UEFA Firmly Committed to Recovery of Women’s Football, Says President; Michel Platini Called for Questioning by Swiss Prosecutors and More (Football Round-Up)
While the women’s game has seen rapid progress in the last few years, the pandemic has caused a disruption in every sector of the sport.
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin emphasised the need to get women football on track because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Čeferin was speaking on the sidelines of Olympique Lyonnais' victory in the 2019/20 UEFA Women's Champions League final in Spain.
While the women’s game has seen rapid progress, the pandemic has caused a disruption in every sector of the sport. "The consequences of Covid-19 will be felt by football for some time, but it is at times like these that UEFA's support is more important than ever for safeguarding the long-term future of women's football in Europe," Čeferin said.
"We remain fully committed to our long-term vision for the women's game set out in ‘Time for Action’," added Čeferin, in reference to the five-year strategy, which was introduced for women’s football by UEFA in Budapest last year. "We have already secured all the funding needed to implement the strategy over the next four years. This means that we will still be investing more in the female game than ever before," said Čeferin.
Čeferin insisted that the smooth return of the Women’s Champions League finals indicates the innate resilience of Women’s football in Europe. "The UEFA Women's Champions League is one of the first female sports competitions to return to play," said Čeferin. "I am confident it will help kickstart the resumption of most domestic competitions across the continent."
Former French footballer and administrator Michel Platini was summoned by Swiss public prosecutor Thomas Hildbrand over an investigation regarding a two million Swiss franc ($2.2 million) payment received by him in 2011.
Former FIFA President, Sepp Blatter is also expected to meet the prosecutor in relation to the investigation. Both Platini and Blatter are to be interrogated by the public prosecutor as part of proceedings that were opened in 2015.
In June Hildbrand decided to include Platini in the probe over payments received from FIFA in 2011 for an advisory job, which was concluded in 2002. He has been suspected of "complicity in unfair management, embezzlement and forgery in securities".
Two other former FIFA executives, Frenchman Jerome Valcke, the former secretary-general, and German Markus Kattner, the former financial director, are being investigated on "suspicion of unfair management", the Office of the Attorney General said.
In June Platini had complained of being persecuted by FIFA. "After five years, it is quite possible that FIFA will continue to harass me through complaints with the sole aim of keeping me out of football and smearing my reputation," he said.
‘Messi Won’t Stay at Barca’
Barcelona presidential candidate Toni Freixa believes the decision made by Lionel Messi to leave Barcelona this summer is irreversible and the Argentine will mostly likely join Manchester City.
Following Messi’s transfer request last week, there has been a constant stream of speculation about where he might end up. A stream of thought also believes that Messi may reconsider his transfer if current president Josip Maria Bartomeu resigns from his position. However, one of the men eyeing the position thinks otherwise.
“As I have heard from several sides, the decision the player has come to is one that has matured over several years and is irrevocable. I don't believe that there is any going back,” Freixa told Goal.com.
“Messi is a player who strives for maximum success,” Freixa added. “He alone cannot achieve maximum success, he needs a team for that. He does not have one. Since the treble in 2015, Champions League success is missing. That is what concerns him. His decision is due to the negative sporting development of the team in recent years.”
HFC Appoint Marquez as Head Coach
Hyderabad FC (HFC) have appointed Manuel Marquez as the new head of the club following Alberto Roca’s departure. Roca left the club to join FC Barcelona as part of Ronald Koeman’s support staff.
Marquez has worked in La Liga and the Croatian top-flight. He has now signed a one year deal with the club until the end of 2020-21 season.
"It's a big challenge for me to join Hyderabad FC as we are set to begin our season soon. The club has already been preparing and working on a lot of things over the last few months so that makes it a comparatively smoother process for me to settle in," the 31-year old Spaniard said.
"Given that Hyderabad FC intends to follow the same philosophy which I've worked with over so many years, I believe there are common goals already present. Now it's just about hitting the ground running and imparting those ideologies to the players," he said.
Salt Lake Owner to Sell Club
Major League Soccer (MLS) have announced that the owner of Real Salt Lake FC, Dell Loy Hansen has decided to sell his club following reports claiming he made racist comments and had been dismissive and critical of the league’s decision to postpone games in support of racial justice protests..
Hansen who owns the MLS club as well as the Utah Royals of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and United Soccer League's Real Monarch was investigated by the MLS and the NWSL after a report in the Athletic suggested he had made racially insensitive comments and used racial slurs on multiple occasions in the past.
Even the Salt Lake Tribune reported on the comments made by Hansen, who was absent during the investigation. Hansen released a statement of apology while announcing the decision to sell the club.
"I recognise that at times I have spoken too quickly, without pausing to consider the feelings or good intentions of others," Hansen said ."This is not acceptable and I assume full responsibility for allowing my words to travel unfiltered as to their significance and impact.
"After deep consideration and soul-searching, my wife Julie and I agree that the best way forward for the Real Salt Lake family is to assume new ownership and a refreshed vision. We are fully invested in supporting the transition to new ownership and will work diligently to try to ensure that the club stays within our community.We will support the organisation and its employees in moving quickly so as to minimally disrupt this season and allow new ownership adequate time to plan for the 2021 season."
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